“The first step toward change is awareness. The second is acceptance.” – Nathanial Branden – Psychologist.
“Awareness is the first step of healing.”– Dean Ornish- Educator I believe that statement is true. AWARENESS is knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. Dr. Phil McGraw offers one caveat, “Awareness without action is worthless.” I can be aware that smoking is detrimental to my health. I can understand that if I engage in smoking there is a possibility that the effect on my life will be negative: cancer, emphysema (loss of breath in the lungs), etc. If I don’t do something about what I am aware of…what’s the point?
Self-awareness is a gift that keeps on giving. When you can tell where you are—even if you’re in a bad place, it is a blessing. Why? Because you can do something about it. The opposite of aware is ignorant (lacking knowledge) or oblivious (not concerned by what is happening around or within you.)
I am a pastor, but I am also a person. I have a limited supply of time and energy. I get tired. I have feelings and thoughts that are not always pleasant and praising. I do not hold the answers to all of life’s questions. Sometimes I struggle. I get weary. I don’t want to engage people. Sometimes I get angry, oh my! Upon self-reflection…7 deaths in our family over 3 years, the pandemic, going back to school, and the pressures of leading, had taken a toll on me. Awareness is half the battle…but awareness without action is worthless even for pastors. A 2021 Barna study said 38% of pastors had contemplated quitting during the pandemic. Only 1 in 3 was considered healthy, scoring excellent or good in the following categories: relational, spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational, and financial well being. I’ve been a pastor for 25 years, which is a lot longer than most. I know when I need to set down! So this is not an attention seeking pity post, I’m already taking my necessary recovery steps. This is an invitation for you to invest in self-awareness.
Paul exhorted the church at Corinth toward spiritual self-awareness. He told them to appraise themselves to see if their faith was genuine, “Test and evaluate yourselves to see whether you are in the faith and living your lives as [committed] believers. Examine yourselves [not me]! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves [by an ongoing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test and are rejected as counterfeit?” (2 Cor.13:5 AMP) Awareness and acceptance are pathways to growth and healing.